Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

A Collection of 200+ traditional songs & variations with commentaries including Lyrics & Sheet music

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
I N THE years immediately after 1912 American and European folklonsts were engaged in revealing the wealth of traditional English, Scotch, and Irish songs current in the Southern Appalach­ians. Since there had been among the early white settlers of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan many people with the same historical background as that of the Southern informants, I thought that similar songs might linger in the minds of those who lived in the rural sections and who were direct descendants of the early pioneers in the state. The validity of my inference was established when Dr. Bertrand L. Jones, of the Western State Normal School, pub­lished a few old ballads and songs which he had collected and which suggested that there might be others in kindred sources.1 Since at the time his collection was published I was teaching in the Michigan State Normal College at Ypsilanti, which was attended by students who came from the farms and small villages of southern Michigan, it was easy for me to secure their cooperation in recording the words of songs which the singers had learned from oral rather than from printed sources- The first songs to engage the interest of the young fieldworkers were those of singing games which they had enjoyed playing in early childhood and, when they were older, at social gatherings. This collection of games has proved to be more exhaustive than it was thought to be at the time it was made, for, with the exception of some Negro games, further search in the state has brought to light variants oŁ the items published, but no new ones.2
For a number of years, although we made no systematic effort to collect any particular types of traditional songs, we were careful to preserve all those which came to us. In 1934 we found that students of the Michigan State Normal College, together with others of Wayne University, Detroit, had assembled from the oral recitation and the singing of their friends in southern Michigan several hundred old songs in English. About four hundred were acquired by Mrs. Geraldine Chickering, who by reason of her enthusiasm, her demo-
1 For the collection see "Folk-lore in Michigan," The Kalamazoo Normal Record, IV (Kalamazoo, 1914), 297-302.
* For the collection see E. E. Gardner, "Some Play-Party Games in Michigan," JAFL, XXXIII, 91-133-

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III